Thursday, 18 March 2010

A sock and a half

Rick socks from Cookie A's "Sock Innovation". Not too much left to do - don't you just love the way the left and right feet mirror each other? The yarn is Natural Dye Studio; it's so soft and should keep toes toasty. It's a bit splitty so needs some concentration, but worth the effort.
This is the first pattern I've tried from this book, which takes sock knitting to a whole new level. The instructions and charts are clear and easy to follow, and Cookie gives loads of info on successful sock design. I've made a couple of minor modifications - including a shaped arch which I find gives a really snug fit, and the usual star toe I favour over a grafted toe due to my ridiculously pointed feet!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Portree finished

A very quick post to show off my recently finished Portree vest, which I'm very proud of! Once set, the pattern's obvious and I found I didn't need to keep my eye on the chart. I'd recommend knitting this circularly though - the pattern's awkward to match up for sewing the side seams. The yarn amounts were plenty - I've got a whole ball of the lighter colour left over and about half a ball of the rust. Lovely yarn to knit with (Rowan felted tweed) and I'd definately use it again.
I did a continental cast on to give a gently rounded edge; in hindsight, I think I'd do a regular cast on, as the one I chose (for neatness) has a bit too much elasticity, and I think might end up a little baggy - time will tell. But all that stranded colourwork should makethis top lovely and warm - just as spring seems to have sprung!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

These are my 2 current wip's - Portree from Rowan in Felted Tweed, the back is now finished and the front has just got the ribbing completed . The pattern is intuitive after the first couple of repeats and I'm pleased with how it's working out. I usually do fair isle way too tight so I'm really trying hard to loosen my tension for this, and so far so good. Blocking should smooth out any kinks. I'm not sure yet if Ill do the belt for this - I think I'll wait and see what it looks like without.

The socks are Rick from Sock Innovation - all of the patterns in this book are noteworthy and it was difficult to pick one; in the end I thought this would go well with the yarn I wanted to use - Natural Dye Studio blue faced leicester which has been in my stash for way too long. It's incredibly soft and quite loosely plied so it's a bit splitty, but I'll forgive it because I like it so much. The pattern is lace and twisted rib which swirls around the sock so I'm finding I need to re-arrange the stitches after each 4 row repeat. I've done a bit more work since I took the photo; I'm almost at the heel flap now.

Sunday, 7 February 2010


I finished Sissinghurst a couple of weeks ago. I really enjoyed knitting this and I love the result. The yarn is Rowan pure wool 4ply in the colours depicted in the magazine, and I actually had at least one ball of each colour left over - that's a first for me with Rowan. Everything I've ever made from Rowan has always required me to go and buy extra, so this was a bonus.
The pattern looks more complicated than it is to work - slipped stitches on 2 of the 4 pattern rows give the illusion of fair isle but only one colour is used at a time; as the colour changes every 4th row there are masses of ends to weave in, but I did this at the end of each knitting session to keep things under some sort of control - I don't think I could've faced doing them all at the end. I made the smallest size - 32" - 34" - which turned out to be a good move as it blocked slightly larger than the expected finished measurements, so it fits quite well after all.
Currently knitting "Portree", another Rowan from their latest mag, and that's going well - I'll have piccies soon, along with Rick socks from Cookie A's "Sock Innovation". Both fit in with two personal goals for this year - to get better at colourwork and to better understand sock construction.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

No photos today, just a quick update on what I'm knitting. I managed to block the Sissinghurst vest from Rowan's winter magazine last weekend, and have now done the neckband and 1 armband. The other armband is scheduled for this evenings knitting and hopefully I'll get time to sew it up too - I might even wear it tomorrow.
With Sissinghurst blocking, there was no knitting on the needles, so I started Portree, also from the latest Rowan magazine. I did the ribbing but had a bit of a false start. This is my first venture into stranded colourwork for a long time and you know when you've only done a few rows of the main pattern but you just know something's not right? Well, I had that moment and decided to rip back. I'd only done about 8 rows so it wasn't a disaster, but it was a good choice. I reworked the rows and now it's much better. I've put it to one side while I get Sissinghurst finished - if I don't get that sewn up soon it'll never get done, and it's too nice to languish in the unfinished objects bag.
I'll attempt to take photos of both projects soon.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

First FO's of the decade

I finished 2 projects this week - quite an achievement for me.
First up, Pyroclastic socks from the latest Knitty. I used sock yarn from stash, obtained a couple of years ago when I joined the Yarn Yard sock club for a short time. The stitch pattern is relatively easy to memorise so the leg was no trouble at all to knit. On the first sock I got a bit confused with the movement of the stitch markers, so I had to frog when I realised I wasn't reducing the width of the pattern on the instep, but once I'd figured out exactly what I was doing, it flowed naturally. These socks have the EZ shaped sole which gives a lovely snug fit, and I changed the toe to star shaped which I find suits me better. If I'd change one thing, it'd be the choice of yarn - the stitch pattern has got a bit lost there. I think it'd be much better in a single colour, or a semi-solid. Other than that, I'm pleased with the result.

Next is the mini dress I started last summer with the intention of taking it on holiday. The pattern was in a supplement with Knitting magazine and the yarn is Bergere de France Coton 50. I had 8 balls of this languishing in the stash for about 6 years and I'm glad I finally broke it out. It's beautiful to knit with, very soft with good stitch definition, blocks well too. I made a couple of minor alterations - I cast on for the second size and decreased to the first size for a better fit, and also knit it a lot shorter than the pattern calls for, since the model was about 6 feet tall and the suggested size would probably have reached my ankles! Both have worked well and I'm really pleased with the result. I think it'll be good to wear on it's own or layered over a vest for spring/summer, but might also look nice over longer sleeves in colder weather.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

A bit more Oz

We saw so many amazing things while we were in Australia that it'd be impossible to show photos of everything. Between us, Mr.Diviknitty and I took about 1500 pictures so I'll try to show some of our favourite places and also capture the great diversity of the place.
Still in Western Australia and travelling north is Ningaloo reef, not as large as the Great Barrier reef over on the east coast, but easily accessible from the beach at Coral Bay. A short ride out in a glass bottomed boat is all it takes, but if you look closely you can see the coral just a few metres out. This was a picture postcard bay of white sand and turquoise sea; we went snorkelling on the reef, working on the assumption that they didn't feed tourists to the sharks so it was safe to swim! I'd never been snorkelling before and I admit to being terrified at first - I couldn't get the hang of breathing through the snorkel at first, but what an experience once I'd mastered it! Such beautiful, colourful fish swimming all around us, and nothing with sharp teeth!

In contrast, this is Limestone Lookout - can you believe the vast nothingness beyond the horizon in every direction? And it was hot - a dry searing heat that you could feel sucking all the moisture out of you.

To finish, photos of two very different rivers - the Murchison looking how a river should look (except for the flies, which were many and very annoying!)and the dry bed of the Gascoyne. Not a drop of water in sight - that's us, only a few metres from the bank, so you can see how big it is - but can you imagine it actually fills up when there's rain in the tropics?!